Lies, damned lies and Government Ministers

So Harry Harperson is still plugging away at making the purchase of sex illegal.

Harriet Harman will today step up her drive to make buying sex illegal when she releases new figures showing that more than half of men and women support the move if it will reduce people-trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Labour\’s deputy leader, the minister for women and equality, will also highlight cultural double standards after some respondents, particularly older men, condoned buying sex but condemned those who sell it.

A Home Office-led review into the demand for prostitution, due to report this year, is looking at whether ministers should make it illegal to pay for sex. The review is looking at a range of options to curb demand, but the Home Office minister, Vernon Coaker, has given a broad hint he will back criminalising the purchase of sex if there is a sign of a national consensus on the issue.

OK, so they\’ll do it if there\’s public support. And they\’ve got that public support if it will reduce people trafficking.

Hmm….but is there actually any people trafficking?

I\’m sure there is, yes….but a great deal less of it than the general public seems to think.

Yes, people do indeed travel to the UK in order to sell sex. People are also smuggled into the country to do so.

That\’s the number of people that we are told are "victims of people trafficking". But the vast majority are not in fact victims at all. They\’re people making a rational choice: they wish to come to the UK in order to sell sex and so they break whichever laws might stop them from doing so.

As I say, there are indeed people who are forced into it, people who are indeed "victims", but that\’s a tiny number. Certainly nothing like the tens of thousands numbers that are thrown around. That number is the number who do it voluntarily.

But apparently that\’s how you get your pet laws passed these days. Scare the pants off the public by telling them that there are tens of thousands trafficked, knowing full well that you mean something very different from what people are hearing, then manufacture support for your own grossly illiberal proposal on the back of that misunderstanding.

16 thoughts on “Lies, damned lies and Government Ministers”

  1. And what’s the best way to deal with people being coerced? Simple: create a legal, licensed trade.

    Anyone who is over 18 and not being coerced will get a license, so it’s much clearer that those who are unlicensed are doing this.

    When hardcore pornography was made legal in America, a similar thing happened – it drew a wedge between the consenting and non-consenting trade, to the point where the consenting trade co-operated with the police and were prepared to report the non-consenting trade in a way that they hadn’t before.

  2. How on earth do you produce “options to curb demand” for something that is driven by an innate part of the human condition? Clearly most people get sex by means other than paying for it (at least not directly paying for it). But people have paid for sex for millenia and this sort of Harperson claptrap will result in prostitution becoming a wholy criminal enterprise with the result that legitimate efforts to protect women from violence etc will become even more ineffective. You will not, and indeed cannot, curb the demand. God I hate Harriet Harman. I am not sure if I hate her more than Polly Toynbee but she is certainly a very, very close second.

  3. “You will not, and indeed cannot, curb the demand.”

    Socialists don’t understand human nature, and believe that it needs more regulation in order to work.

  4. “a range of options to curb demand.”

    Well. there’s pub demand, hotel demand, brothel demand, out-call demand, massage-parlor demand, etc. Seems like a pretty extensive set of options to “curb” demand.

    So, what’s the fuss?

  5. “If they are going to legislate based on “public opinion” then why don’t they start with…”

    …Gordon Brown.

  6. Why is it that when it’s drugs it is the provider that the law goes after, but when it’s sex it’s the user they go after most heavily?

  7. Why is it that when it’s drugs it is the provider that the law goes after, but when it’s sex it’s the user they go after most heavily?

    Not quite. With sex it’s the pimps they go after most heavily, and they’re the ones in the analogous position to drug dealers.

  8. “Socialists don’t understand human nature”.

    Too true, but there again nor do most libertarians. In fact nor do most politicians.

  9. If the object is to reduce trafficking- by which I assume is meant the illegal and covert moving of girls into the country for the sex trade- why not simply provide a practical legal method whereby impoverished overseas ladies could come? Perhaps a loan system for the fare allied with work permits? More to the point when are these ladies going to pay any income tax?

  10. It is people like Harperson who make the whole “profession” necessary.

    Robert Heinlein, the sci-fi author, said that Earth is the only planet where that which any woman has an unlimited supply of has a scarcity value. In “Glory Road” I think.

    Alan Douglas

  11. So now a consenting adult can’t take part in a transaction, because some other coerced or trafficked person might be made to do likewise.

    It is the trafficking, not the payment for sex, that is the problem. People are trafficked and forced to work in all sorts of dangerous jobs. Are we going to outlaw the construction industry, and all the seasonal forms of casual labour?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *